Get Thee to a Bakery: Essays
Reviewed By: Susan Keefe
Susan Keefe reviews and promotes poetry, fiction and non-fiction, and is also author of the Toby's Tails series of children's books.

Firstly I have to say that I loved this book. The author’s style of writing is easy to read and humorous. Written in chapters, this series of essays is part memoir and part travelogue. They are taken from Rick Bailey’s observations on his environment, and the social and technological changes which have occurred during his lifetime. Whilst I know humour is deeply personal, this book is steeped in it, and it covers a wide variety of subjects. I challenge anyone not to have a chuckle at the author’s antics, and observations.

The essays cover a myriad of subjects. For example, in the Chapter 1 Get Thee to a Bakery, the author is completing a regular task which requires him to climb a stepladder when his wife says “I wish you wouldn’t do that.” A harmless comment, but it prompts memories of tales he has heard of the perils of this a seemingly simple task. The author consoles himself with the knowledge that, should he survive, he will go and get some pumpkin pie which itself triggers other reflections.

Chapter 4 Con te partirò, is one of my favourites, because I suffer terribly from it. ‘Earworms,’ otherwise known as those tunes which become lodged in your head when someone says, “What was that song which such and such sang in/at?” Or those insidious ones which arrive on Monday morning, and you find yourself still humming them on Friday. Rick reflects on being stuck with the famous Andrea Bocelli song replaying in his ear while taking the reader on a short tour of San Francisco. I wonder if I should take a leaf from the author’s book and get the anti-earworm app.

Life has undergone so many changes through the years, new-fangled gadgets, and culinary inventions like the push- button pancake, which I read about in Chapter 32 / Rock Me, which Rick encounters on a visit to Sedona. What is the world coming to? These little frustrations, or problems, and many more  experienced by the author, will make you giggle, or cringe, depending on if you agree with his viewpoint on the particular subject, or not…

Being a dual-cultured family, with children and grandchildren who also travel, readers are treated to wonderful fly-on-the-wall peeps into other cultures. Rick and his wife, spend a lot of time with her Italian family, and this really gives us a flavour of European living, which I can attest to having just returned from having spent 14 years living in France.  Life really is ‘different’ living in Europe, as it is in other places they visit like Shanghai. We, the lucky reader can sample it all from the comfort of our armchair.

Rick Bailey, the author of this thoroughly entertaining collection of essays, grew up in Michigan. He has written text books for McGraw-Hill, taught writing for 38 years, and is a persistent blogger. His blog became the basis for first book ‘American English, Italian Chocolate,’ which is a collection of essays, and his second book, ‘The Enjoy Agenda at Home and Abroad.’ Since his retirement, he and his wife divide their time between Michigan and the Republic of San Marino.

Whether you love to people watch, enjoy virtual travelling, enjoy a spot or humour, or are simply looking for a great read, this is the book for you! Highly recommended.

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